Shiffrin poised to win World Cup as Sochi race called off
By JAMES ELLINGWORTH
AP Sports Writer
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Mikaela Shiffrin was poised to win her third straight World Cup overall title on Saturday - even though neither she nor anyone else was racing.
The women's World Cup super-G race in Sochi was postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to snowstorms, which also means the end of plans to host a second super-G this weekend.
That leaves Shiffrin with a 719-point lead and a maximum of 700 points remaining this season - unless any rescheduled races are unexpectedly added by governing body FIS to the calendar. All other skiers trail at least 900 points behind Shiffrin, who has a career-best 14 World Cup wins this season.
The American skier was already assured of winning the title after the weekend's racing in Sochi since neither she nor her only remaining title rival, Petra Vlhova, both technical race specialists, entered the speed races this weekend.
Shiffrin has suggested the high travel costs for Sochi discouraged her. Instead, she's training in Italy ahead of next week's races at the Czech resort of Spindleruv Mlyn.
Snowstorms and strong winds have played havoc with the first World Cup events in Sochi since the 2014 Winter Olympics, and the super-G could still be at risk in its Sunday slot. Snowfall continued Saturday morning, though it wasn't as heavy as the day before.
Saturday was originally meant for a downhill race, but that was canceled after it proved impossible to hold any of the three planned training sessions. When that opened up a slot in the calendar, organizers tried to add a second super-G rescheduled from St. Anton in January, but the weather made that impossible.
Organizers now face a rush to prepare a course for Sunday at the Rosa Khutor resort.
"Since the early morning hundreds of specialists and their equipment have been working on the course to ready it for tomorrow's race," the Russian Alpine Ski Federation, which organizes the event, said in a statement. "Weather at the resort is gradually improving and the forecast for Sunday means we're optimistic about the chances of holding a race."
Having too much snow, rather than not enough, is a novel problem for elite-level racing in Sochi. Ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, organizers feared warm temperatures so stockpiled the previous year's snow under blankets and brought in equipment from around the world to make artificial snow.
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